Bursitis? What is that?! 

Have you recently consulted with your Osteo or Physio who has referred you for an ultrasound? Did they mentioned the possibility that you have Bursitis? Well let me explain a bit about what that is!

Healthy vs BursitisWhat is a Bursa?

A Bursa is a fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion between muscles, tendons, joints and bones. The role of these Bursae is to reduce friction caused by movement around those joints. 

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is inflammation of the Bursae. It is often a painful condition that affects the joints. It is commonly associated with over use or repetitive joint movements. It can however also be caused by poor postures, walking habits, long standing strength or structural imbalances. It is more common in those who are overweight, have some types of arthritis, elderly or diabetic, however it can also occur in healthy individuals. 

Common sites of Bursitis are: 

  • Shoulder 
  • Hip 
  • Knee 
  • Elbow 
  • Ankle 

Symptoms of Bursitis:

  • Pain or tenderness around the joint, especially if pressure is applied. 
  • Redness, warmth or swelling are usually uncommon but may be a sign of infection. 

Diagnosis of Bursitis:

A diagnosis of Bursitis is usually done through a thorough examination. This involves pressing around the joint and taking the joint through its ranges of movement. A referral for an xray or ultrasound is often used to confirm the diagnosis or to rule out the possibility of anything more serious.

Jump for joyPrognosis of Bursitis:

The prognosis for Bursitis is often excellent and will resolve, however it is important that you take the right steps as soon as you have your diagnosis.

Treatment and Management of Bursitis:

  • Education on avoiding or modifying the aggravating movement or activity. This may include a biomechanical or postural assessment by your practitioner and looking for “why” it has occurred. 
  • Ice in the first 48 hours may assist with pain management and initial inflammation, however may not be as effective long-term. 
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications in the short term may help to relieve the discomfort and reduce the inflammation. 
  • Manual therapy may be used to help restore normal movement 
  • Exercise and strengthening specific to the patient to address underlying imbalances and prevent reoccurrence. This may not be limited to the joint affected. 
  • Cortisone injections can often be effective in the early stages to reduce pain and inflammation 


Article by Dr Kane Theisinger


Subscribe to our Boronia newsletter

Get the latest news, tips and recipes

Subscribe to our Elwood newsletter

Get the latest news, tips and recipes